Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Return to Island Time

Tonight, in the wake of Snowmageddonizzardpocalypse 2011, we made the choice to eat out of our food reserves rather than purchasing anything extra. Truth be told, that's what we've been doing throughout January and actually had very little to do with the snow at all. We did not have to rush out to the store to make any auxiliary purchases prior to the storm because we probably have enough frozen, refrigerated, and pantry items to sustain us for about six months.

In the late afternoon we did go out for a walk after the roads were cleared and picked up a baguette and some fava beans. You know, the essentials.

After our trip to Jamaica last October I've been interested in doing a Jamaican theme night. The challenge in this is that I don't have any experience with Caribbean cooking of any sort. However, we did return with an assortment of jerk sauces, rums, and Jamaican hot sauces so I was pretty confident that I could put something together.

I also returned with this cookbook by Enid Donaldson. While I am not one for following recipes I do enjoy a good authoritative cookbook on a subject I know little about. Usually what I do is flip through and read the methods of preparation and ingredients and then converge them with what I would normally do so that I have some sort of hybrid bastard child recipe that only resembles its traditional form.

I started by making a dark and stormy for Jen with the ginger syrup that I've had in the fridge for the past few months. I'm worried that this syrup may be a little past its prime. Jen didn't seem to mind.

I had a Foreign Extra by Guinness. Red Stripe would have been the obvious choice for this meal and while I like Red Stripe I think I can go without it for a while after spending five days in Jamaica. I may be good to stay off of Red Stripe for another year or so.

The Foreign Extra was pretty good. It's not Jamaican but I saw it for the first time when I was in Jamaica. At the airport, actually. I'd never seen this before in the States but, of course, I saw it about two weeks after returning home and picked it up. I think I enjoyed this beer more than regular Guinness. I guess they save their best stuff for foreigners.

I marinated some chicken wings in some jerk sauce then cooked them in the oven and served them up with lime slices and chopped ginger. I was worried that these would be too spicy but they were perfect.

The oxtail, on the other hand, was pretty spicy. I browned them in a pan and then tossed in some finely chopped onion, garlic, dried chilies, and salt before adding some of my turkey stock and water and throwing it in the oven for a few hours. It turned out a bit spicy from the dried chilies. Normally I cook oxtail using the same method I use for osso bucco so it was interesting to try a new take. At the end I threw in the broad beans I'd purchased that afternoon after I'd peeled, blanched, and peeled them again.

As an accompaniment I made my take on traditional Jamaican rice and peas. Of course I didn't have any peas so I substituted edamame. It was a little weird but it worked really well. I cooked the rice in coconut milk and salt then threw in the edamame right before it was done.

For dessert I made this bread pudding with the baguette we picked up and used up the leftover heavy cream and eggs from the holidays that we had in the fridge. I put in molasses, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Next time I think I'd cut back a bit on the molasses and allspice. Other than that it came out pretty good. I didn't look at any sort of recipe beforehand and, perhaps, that may have helped.

We also picked up some vanilla ice cream from Ronnybrook Farm Ancramdale, NY mostly because it was so cheap. Ronnybrook makes great stuff and when you can get any of their products at a reduced price from the alternatives you are very lucky indeed.

Well, I'd hoped we'd be able to incorporate a few more traditional Jamaican dishes in this night we did a good job of using up a lot of our food reserves and for that I'm happy.

Now if only we had goat and ackee in the freezer!

Inventory Update


  • ground beef
  • chopped turkey from Canadian Thanksgiving
  • flour tortillas
  • coconut cookies
  • macaroni & cheese from Canadian Thanksgiving
  • turkey stock from Canadian Thanksgiving
  • turkey stock from American Thanksgiving
  • part of a baguette
  • lemon bread
  • Antiguan run fruitcake
  • cranberry bread
  • fudge
  • Japanese noodles
  • buttermilk bread
  • stuffing from Canadian Thanksgiving
  • bacon
  • oxtail
  • homemade bread crumbs
  • edamame
  • turkey curry
  • rye bagel
  • shortbread cookies
  • puff pastry dough
  • pumpernickel bread
  • panko
  • cellophane noodles
  • raisins
  • dried cherries
  • dried cranberries
  • dried apricots
  • dried chilies
  • garbanzo beans
  • canellini beans
  • sardines
  • anchovies
  • sesame seeds
  • cashews
  • pistachios
  • shredded coconut
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • semolina flour
  • goldenberries
  • forbidden rice
  • candied cherries
  • powdered dried porcini
  • couscous
  • Jamaican jerk sauce
  • Jamaican rum cakes
  • Jamaican hot sauce
  • nori
  • quinoa
  • sherry vinegar
  • purple basil vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • champagne vinegar
  • rice
  • assored dried pastas
  • lasagna noodles
  • tomato paste
  • balsamic dressing/marinade
  • relish
  • chopped clams
  • clam juice
  • piccalilli
  • fajita sauce
  • cherry jellies for barbecue
  • canned pumpkin
  • pasta sauce
  • croutons
  • assorted flours for making brown bread
  • pickled beets
  • seafood stock
  • beef stock
  • basil pesto
  • jarred roasted tomatoes
  • smoked salmon
  • stuffed olives
  • Grand Marnier mustard
  • Coco Haze spread
  • twelve jars of grapefruit marmalade
  • black cherry marmalade
  • fancy plum jam
  • Captain Redbeard's hot sauce
  • salted lime cashews
  • eggs
  • korma sauce
  • sauerkraut
  • dates
  • shallots
  • miso paste
  • cranberries
  • pickled beets (made by Jen's dad)
  • white sweet potato
  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • celery
  • heavy cream
  • cream cheese
  • goat cheese
  • cocktail sauce
  • red pepper tapenade
  • sauces, marinades, and condiments too numerous to list
  • a million assorted beers

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